Know your worth, Warhurst tells IWD lunch

Know your worth and challenge the status quo – these are two key lessons TV and radio personality Myf Warhurst says helped her navigate the challenges of a career in a male-dominated industry. 

Myf Warhurst talks at a lunch event.

TV and radio personality Myf Warhurst.

Speaking to a packed room at Crown Perth for CCIWA’s International Women’s Day lunch, Warhurst offered an entertaining insight into her more than two-decade-long media career.

Emphasising the importance of representation and role models, she detailed her experiences – from growing up in regional Victoria with aspirations of becoming a pop star, to starting her radio career at a time when there were few women presenters. 

As one of the first women team captains on a comedy panel show when she started her long-running stint on the ABC program Spicks and Specks, Warhurst said it came with some early resistance, but it blazed a path for other women in TV. 

“It’s our job to get louder and sometimes make people a bit more uncomfortable as well,” she said. 

“Now there are three women on panel shows and no one blinks an eye because it’s normal and that’s exactly how it should be. 

“Every world that we exist in, in terms of our work world, and our leisure worlds and our sporting worlds should reflect the world that we live in, and our boardrooms and our small businesses should do the same.” 

‘Keep taking up space’

In a keynote address peppered with music references, Warhurst cited the example of one of her childhood icons, Dolly Parton, refusing to sell her hit song I Will Always Love You to Elvis’ manager because she would not have been given royalty payments. She eventually sold the song to Whitney Houston. 

“Know your worth and know that your work is valuable,” Warhurst said. 

Warhurst also described her experience of being “body shamed” in one of her first high-profile public appearances, and the importance of speaking up against injustices. 

“If we want to inspire the next generation and open the field to women of all backgrounds, we women in this generation need to keep taking up space to ensure that those coming up after us won’t also be shamed for being outspoken, being themselves or just simply living their lives,” she said. 

“It’s our job, I feel like it’s my job, now to speak up, speak loudly, speak out against the things you see and hear that are wrong and tell us you can do this, too.” 

CCIWA President Nicki Ivory.

CCIWA President Nicki Ivory told the audience that International Women’s Day was a day to reflect on and celebrate the social, economic and cultural achievements and contributions of women in Western Australia. 

Drawing on this year’s #InspireInclusion theme, Ivory said it was about inspiring others to value the social, economic, cultural, and political contribution of all women. 

She noted that research showed companies that were gender diverse were 15% more profitable than those that were not and more likely to financially outperform their competitors. 

However, women were still underrepresented in leadership roles across almost all industries in the Australian workforce. 

“It’s simply unacceptable that in Australia for every dollar a man earns a woman will earn 78 cents on average,” she said. 

“All of us, not just women, must continue to challenge the damaging stereotypes, and old-fashioned attitudes that have held women back and advocate for equality and accountability.” 

 

To be part of WA’s peak business organisation, get in touch via 1300 422 492 or [email protected].  

 

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